Attorney General Platkin Announces Racketeering Charges Against Six Defendants in Criminal Enterprise Led by George Norcross

Conspiracy Spanning Twelve Years Resulted in the Enterprise’s Acquisition of Camden Waterfront Property and Property Rights for Itself and Others through Unlawful Means

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2024

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Office of Public Integrity and Accountability
– Drew Skinner, Executive Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Sharon Lauchaire
OAGpress@njoag.gov

TRENTON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) today announced the filing of criminal charges against six defendants following a years-long investigation into a criminal enterprise run by George E. Norcross III and his associates in South Jersey and elsewhere. The thirteen-count indictment unsealed today alleges that through a series of unlawful acts, the Norcross Enterprise obtained property and property rights on the Camden Waterfront for itself and others, collected millions of dollars in government-issued tax credits, and controlled and influenced government officials to further the interests of the enterprise.

The indictment available here alleges that from as early as 2012 through the present, the Norcross Enterprise used its power and influence over government officials to craft legislation tailored to serve the interests of the enterprise, and with the cooperation of then-Camden Mayor Dana Redd and other officials, used parts of the city’s government to aid the enterprise in acquiring property and property rights for itself and others through coercion, extortion, and other criminal acts. All six of the following defendants are charged with first-degree racketeering:

  • George E. Norcross, III, 68, of Palm Beach, Florida, is executive chairman of the insurance firm Conner, Strong & Buckelew and chairman of the board of trustees for Cooper Health.
  • Philip A. Norcross, 61, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an attorney and the managing shareholder and CEO of Parker McCay, a New Jersey law firm. Philip Norcross also serves on the board of Cooper Health and is the registered agent for the groups that own buildings in Camden that are the subject of the criminal allegations.
  • William M. Tambussi, 66, of Brigantine, New Jersey, is an attorney and partner at the law firm of Brown and Connery. He is the long-time personal attorney to George Norcross. From 1989 to present he also served as counsel to the Camden County Democratic Committee – which George Norcross chaired from 1989 to 1995. Tambussi has also served as outside counsel to the City of Camden, the Camden Redevelopment Agency, Cooper Health, and Conner Strong.
  • Dana L. Redd, 56, of Sicklerville, New Jersey, is currently the CEO of Camden Community Partnership, which was formerly Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. She previously served as a member of the Camden City Council, the New Jersey Senate, and from 2010 to 2018 was the Mayor of Camden, and she is alleged to have abused that position to benefit herself and the Norcross Enterprise.
  • Sidney R. Brown, 67, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the CEO of NFI, a trucking and logistics company. He also serves as a member of the board at Cooper Health, and is a partner in the groups that own several of the Camden buildings at the center of the allegations.
  • John J. O’Donnell, 61, of Newtown, Pennsylvania, has been in the executive leadership of The Michaels Organization, a residential development company, in a variety of roles including COO, President, and CEO. He is also a partner in the groups that own several of the Camden buildings at the center of the allegations. He has also served on the Board of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership at various times since 2018.

The defendants are also charged with various counts of financial facilitation, misconduct by a corporate official, and official misconduct and conspiring to commit theft by extortion, criminal coercion, financial facilitation, misconduct by a corporate official, and official misconduct.

“The indictment unsealed today alleges that George Norcross has been running a criminal enterprise in this state for at least the last twelve years,” said Attorney General Platkin in announcing the charges earlier today. “On full display in this indictment is how a group of unelected, private businessmen used their power and influence to get government to aid their criminal enterprise and further its interests. The alleged conduct of the Norcross Enterprise has caused great harm to individuals, businesses, non-profits, the people of the State of New Jersey, and especially the City of Camden and its residents. That stops today. We must never accept politics and government – that is funded with tax dollars – to be weaponized against the people it serves. Today we reaffirm that no one in our state is above the law – period.”

“Today’s indictment marks the culmination of a years-long, collaborative investigation, and I am grateful to the team handling this case for their dedication to seeking justice,” said Drew Skinner, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, who will oversee the prosecution of this case. “Every day, we at the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability work with our law enforcement partners across the State to root out corruption and criminal activities that create distrust in government institutions and harm the communities we in law enforcement are sworn to serve and protect.”

“We work each day with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, as well as other State agencies, creating effective and lasting relationships,” said Special Agent in Charge James Dennehy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Newark Field Office. “We are always willing to support and assist when our partners ask. We will do everything within our purview to bring to justice anyone accused of wrongdoing.”

“Partnerships have always been the backbone of effective law enforcement, and through these relationships, we can better serve our communities,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Philadelphia. “As always, FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”

All of the offenses charged in the 111-page indictment are violations of the first and second degrees. First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. The crime of first-degree racketeering is subject to the No Early Release Act, and thus carries a mandatory 85% parole disqualifier. It also exposes criminal defendants to the potential for additional financial penalties – including the forfeiture of ill-gotten proceeds from their criminal activity – which, as the indictment makes clear, the State intends to seek in this case. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The offense of official misconduct carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years for public officials convicted of that offense related to their office.

These charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

The arraignment for the defendants is scheduled for July 9 at 10 a.m., before Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw Jr. in Mercer County.

The indictment comes following a long-term investigation led by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, with investigative support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Newark and Philadelphia Field Offices, under the leadership of Special Agents in Charge James E. Dennehy and Wayne Jacobs respectively; as well as the Division of Criminal Justice, under the leadership of Director J. Stephen Ferketic and Chief Weldon Powell; and the New Jersey State Police, under the leadership of Colonel Patrick Callahan. Attorney General Platkin also acknowledged the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, under the leadership of U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero, and the District of New Jersey, under the leadership of U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger, for their contributions to the case.

Deputy Director Michael Breslin, Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Wellbrock and Michael Grillo, along with Deputy Attorneys General Adam Klein and Amanda Nini, are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Executive Director Drew Skinner and former Executive Director Thomas J. Eicher, who is set to retire at the end of the month. This investigation has been led by Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Sergeant Erin Bancroft, Detective Ryan Vivarelli, and State Investigator Paul Donahue of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability; and Detective Sergeant Ryan Gillespie of the New Jersey State Police.

Defense counsel:
George E. Norcross, III, is represented by Michael Critchley, Esq
Philip A. Norcross is represented by Kevin Marino, Esq
William M. Tambussi is represented by Thomas Gosse, Esq.
Dana L. Redd is represented by Henry Klingeman, Esq.
Sidney R. Brown : no defense counsel listed.
John J. O’Donnell: no defense counsel listed.

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